H.P. Lovecraft Gives You Relationship Advice
What if your love guru was the author of “At the Mountains of Madness” and “Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos”?
Few writers have created universes as strange and daunting as Howard Phillip Lovecraft, the great American writer of “cosmic horror”. In Lovecraft’s literature, we inhabit a metaphysically devouring world in which demons and gods are indifferent to our fate –generally insatiable predators that toy with our inane lives.
Considering his literary profile, one would find it hard to believe that H.P. Lovecraft would be one to give relationship advice —those that swarm advice columns— and yet, it is precisely what writer James Warner has imagined. Warner takes the unsympathetic world which characterizes Lovecraft’s world to a grotesque and sometimes poetic hyperbole, and in a metaphysical exercise, he answers his readers’ relationship questions. Love becomes a cruel banquet in which aliens vent their sorrows in baroque and nearly impenetrable prose, Lovecraft’s faithful ectoplasma:
A change has overcome my husband. He likes to pore over forbidden manuscripts, and often returns home late, giving the excuse that he has been attending debauches in a neighboring swamp. So why am I never invited?
I have been under a great nervous strain since reading your words, which I feel brought me to the brink of an ultra-dimensional realm of nameless terror. It is a wonder I can even bring myself to pen a response. Dalgaard has appeared to me in a dream, begging me to stop answering mail, as this can only draw attention from — but he was too overwrought to finish his sentence. Persuade yourself, if you can, that the cephalopods coming up behind him were but phantasmata, that your husband’s dissipated habits are harmless, that eternal oblivion is the worst we have to fear, that the dreadful exaggerations in the Saracenic Scrolls are without factual foundation — I fervently wish I could still be as credulous myself! Unless it is too late, expunge from your brain all tenebrous speculation about rubbery, faceless lobsters scuttling down onyx flumes onto nether altars, etc. Dalgaard should evidently never have borrowed from the library The Chronicle of the Slime, which must be horribly overdue by now, or taught himself how to swap minds with the fennel folk, who he insists have the abominable knack of wreaking demented changes upon space-time itself,
Yr. Most Oblig’d, Most Obt. Srvt.,
I am Xah’gnui, who has long delved into the annals of subterranean lore, conducting forbidden researches into the unknown, with a view to resurrecting aeon-silent interplanetary necromancer-lizards. Why is it so hard for me to get a date?
Would to God I had never opened your loathsome missive or any of the others! I lie gibbering on the settee, striving to blot from my consciousness your perverse admission, the most terrible quality of which is that it is penned in what is unquestionably my own handwriting. If that were not enough, your letter’s acrid stench resembles that of the thing — if it is a thing — that now slavers spasmodically against my window shutter. Yesterday I half-glimpsed its necrophagous shadow, and its contours are as terrible as that low whistling sound it makes, the ichor it exudes, and its interminable gnawings upon the doorknob. In outline it resembles a giant floret of broccoli, with queer appendages that are neither mouths nor talons, and despite being ill-equipped for the task, it has been alien-rhythmically typing me some kind of message. Through some ultimate void it tries to take control of my mind! While even now I hear it fumbling slobberingly with the letter-box! My one consolation is that it has already devoured the Rural Free Delivery man, so that I need not anticipate the arrival of any more of this vile and accursed correspondence,
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